Saturday, September 26, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wild Turkey -- Do's & Don'ts

If your turkey is tough and dry, don’t blame the turkey. The cure for a terrible tasting Tom isn’t a slow-cooker with a can or two of cream of anything soup. Here are a few tips that’ll make your turkey taste terrific!

1. Cool it, clean it and refrigerate or freeze it ASAP. Don’t drive it around in your truck to show your pals. Take a picture!

2. Don’t stuff it. It doesn’t do anything to the flavor and prolongs cooking time.

3. Don’t baste it. It doesn’t work either, but it will make the skin crispier.

4. When plucked, carefully separate the skin from the meat. Starting at the neck, work your fingers between the skin and breast. Cut up some partially-cooked bacon, onion, garlic and herbs and place between the skin and breast.

5. If you’re going to roast the whole bird, roast it breast side down. Cut up some wedges of apple, onion and/or potato to keep it from falling over.

6. Do cook the breast to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Overcooking will dry out the breast.

7. Cook turkey breasts and legs and thighs separately. Legs and thighs take a couple of hours to cook, preferably with liquid to help loosen them up. Breasts cook very quickly.

8. When stir-frying sliced turkey breast, first remove the fibrous membrane within the breast. It can be tough and chewy.

9. Use the turkey carcass and drumsticks to make a flavorful stock. Roast them in a large pan with celery, carrots and onions until brown. Then toss into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add some herbs, garlic and peppercorns and simmer for several hours. Strain through a colander for turkey stock.

10. A tough old bird may need a little more work. The Jake is the better eating bird, but I know you’re going to shoot the big boy. If the bird is especially tough, try braising or lightly pounding the breasts before cooking.

Wild Turkey Breast Won Tons - Recipe


If it’s crispy, it’s usually fried. In this case, you take some chopped up turkey breast, throw in a few other ingredients like jack cheese, wrap it all up in a won ton wrapper and fry it until it’s golden brown and crunchy. This recipe is also a great way to use slow-roasted pulled turkey thigh meat.

6 - 8 appetizer servings/25 won tons

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped wild turkey breast, skin removed
3 green onions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/3 cup jack cheese
25 won ton wrappers
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
oil for frying

Instructions Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and stir fry until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Transfer all to a bowl and allow to cool. When cooled, chop mixture into pea-sized pieces (or pulse in a food processor). Stir in cheese. Lay won ton wrappers on a flat surface. Press together about 1 teaspoon of the turkey mixture on the center of each wrapper. Wet the edges of each wrapper with the cornstarch mixture. Fold wrapper in a triangle, pressing down around the filling and sealing the edges with your fingers. Carefully place won tons, one or two at a time, into hot (360 degree) oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt while hot.